from The Question of Miracles by Elana K. Arnold


When you have nothing, when your egg isn’t yet hatched, you don’t really know what you might have, what might come from that potential. p 212

The above line is taken from an exchange about tennis, specifically scoring and the fact the Iris is enamored by the idea that even if you have zero, you still have love.

That about sums up how I feel right now. I have zero words to put on this page. My every thought seems to be consumed by college announcements. I had no idea that one student could be waitlisted so many times. I imagine it’s preferable to a flat out rejection, but it’s hard to put your trust in a Maybe.

The other night T ran out to catch the fast internet in the car because he had an email at 11:30 at night telling him the college had posted their acceptances. He thrust his feet into his boots and ran down to the car. I sat in my chair vibrating and willing him to come in and let me know. When I heard the door handle jiggle, I tensed and he came in laughing. I got excited, then realized his laugh was more hysterical than happy. He claimed he had done a hat trick by getting waitlisted a third time. My hope left me right then. I haven’t felt this powerless since I was pregnant. I took off for my maternity leave a week early, sure I did not want to give birth n the elevator at the World Trade Center, even though my young coworkers thought the camera would be exciting and allow them to watch the event from a distance so as not to disturb me. T came a week late so there was plenty of pacing and fretting and worrying about things which were beyond my control. Funny how these two scenarios seem like bookends to this part of his life.

In Arnold’s book, Iris waits for her chick eggs to hatch– trying to find joy in a process fraught with worry and concern. As she attends to them in the incubator, she dreams of the day their beaks will crack through the shell. When she does witness the miracle, it’s unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Knowing that her friend and her old life in California have been taken from her, each time a chick emerges, it feels like something has been returned and in some small way the balance has been restored. I love Iris because she is wise beyond her years. She sees the potential in a big round object– be it zero, egg or ball of yarn.

I am trying to see this as the exciting Before. The beauty of it, when anything is still possible. The moment before T commits himself to a school and starts envisioning himself there amongst the students and the textbooks, the dorms and the lecture halls. He has yet to break the shell of this small town life. Most of his friends already have. Some have known since November. For us there is still worry, stress and unease. I’m trying to take it as it comes, to fall back into the situation and trust that I won’t hurt myself. In fact I could do more damage if I hold too tight. There is an undercurrent of calm in our lives right now, and if I listen hard enough I can hear the steady hum.

I do believe that right now, right this very minute, anything is possible and the days ahead hold potential and promise. Soon enough it will be passed and we’ll move to the next stage. I tell myself if you have nothing and there is still love, that’s something to embrace.


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